Thursday, December 19, 2013

The Real Reason why Feral Hogs have such Bad Attitudes

I think I may have discovered why feral hogs, especially the big boars, have such a bad attitude... dental disease!

Below are the tusks that I painstakingly removed from the last big boar I dispatched.  (link to a pic)  (I might write a post on this "method" if there is an interest.)

One tusk in the photos below (right or bottom) is "normal" and what I was expecting see.  The portion above the gumline is solid with a hollow area deep within the jaw where the tooth is formed.

The other tusk had an area of decay its entire length that even affected the socket and the formation of the tooth.  The paper thin root of the tooth is turned in on itself and there is what appears to have been an active infection within the jaw too.  I assume this was a constant, ongoing source of pain for this animal.

I have no idea if this was the result of an injury, decay that started at the tip or something else altogether.


A Man in the Woods

Thursday, December 12, 2013

How to Load a LARGE Animal onto your 4 Wheeler - Method #2

One of the many reasons I enjoy hanging out with older people is I get to benefit from their experiences and wisdom without having to experience the actual physical injuries and restraining orders firsthand.  

Our hunting lease is a perfect example where this sort of osmotic learning can take place.  I just need to remember to shut my mouth long enough to learn from the available wisdom.  There is an older gentleman (a term I use loosely) I've known for ~10 years.  He had a hip replaced a year ago but is now in the market for two new knees.  For this discussion, let's simply refer to him as "Mon Dartin" (not his real name).  

Being semi-decrepit yet wiser than he looks, Mon is chock full of labor and back saving tricks that have turned out to be exceedingly useful in the woods.  This post outlines the first of the 2 methods I've learned from him on how to load things heavier than you can comfortably lift.

This all started when I came hobbling back to our hunting camp one day with a very dead 150lb boar and a telescoped spine.  I complained how I nearly crippled myself trying to load him onto the 4 wheeler, had contracted a scorching case of fleas and ticks and how I seriously thought I'd have to simply drag him back to camp.  (As I've shared before, a variety of adjectives could be used to describe me but "tall" and "strong" would not be found on the list.)

Mon looked at me like with his "this guy must be an idiot" look and proceeded to share the following loading technique.  Recently, I had the opportunity to use it and thought I'd share.


How to Load a LARGE Animal onto your 4 Wheeler - Method #2

(Method #1 involves getting a mountain of a man with a monosyllabic name like "Ox", "Grunt" or "Moose" to load it for you.)

1.  Kill a large, urine-soaked, stinking hog you cannot lift more than 2-3" off the ground without blowing out a knee, rotator cuff or simply stroking out. (Obviously, this technique is not limited to hogs.)

2.  Immediately gut it to lighten the load by ~30% and help the meat cool down more quickly.

3.  Drag the boar to a conveniently shaped tree to (i) remove the accumulated fire ants and (ii) allow you to hoist it up.  

A good tree will have a solid branch about 10' up running generally parallel to the ground.  It will help if branch height (T) is greater than or equal to the length of your urine-soaked, stinking hog (H) + the height of your 4 wheeler rack (F). Otherwise, you'll still have to man-handle your animal to get it situated.  For the math inclined:
T > H + F

A bad tree will have a weak or dead branch at the ideal 10' height that will result in unplanned hog-to-ground (HTG) contact.  The details of how I know of the HTG phenomenon are unimportant at this time.

4.  Take a long section (~50') of strong rope and double it back on itself in the middle.  Throw this loop over the target branch in the tree.

4.5  Repeat Step 4 multiple times until the rope is, in fact, OVER the target branch.  Swearing may help.

5.  Slide the two parallel lines through the loop like shown in the photo.  (Known as a sea cucumber knot; first used by the Upper Volta navy)

6.  Put one of the animals back feet/legs through this loop as shown.

7.  Tie one end of the rope to the 4 wheeler and gently pull the hog skyward until it will generally clear the 4 wheeler's rack.

8.  Set the parking brake and WHILE NOT GETTING UNDERNEATH THE ANIMAL, wrap and tie off the other rope end (the loose one) to a tree trunk or stout branch.  

9.  Slowly ease off tension on the 4 wheeler rope to ensure the tie-off rope is holding.

10.  Position the 4 wheeler under the hog and slowly lower it down by letting out a small amount of rope and using the tree trunk or branch as a brake.

11.  Secure hog to 4 wheeler rack with bungee cords, rope or the weight of a small child and drive back to camp, basking in your labor-saving glory.

12.  IMMEDIATELY scrap off any stray fire ants that fly off the hog onto your person while you proceed down the trail.

Method #3 (future post) is a bit more challenging but is useful when there are no trees around!


A Man in the Woods with a Saved Back

Friday, December 6, 2013

Apparently Money Can Buy You a Ticket to Happiness

I just liked this when I saw it.  Pretty much says it all.

A Man in the Woods (with a very full freezer!)